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Treatment for Severe Depression

person who is depressed

Appointments & Referrals


 For Referring Physicians

Clinic Locations

 4S Ranch

 La Jolla


If you are struggling with severe depression, you are not alone. Depression affects about 20 million adults in America each year. About one-third will not find relief from antidepressant medications and talk therapy.

If you are one of these people, we can help. UC San Diego Health's Interventional Psychiatry Clinic offers brain stimulation therapy, also known as neuromodulation, for adults ages 18 and older, with treatment-resistant depression.

Neuromodulation refers to the use of magnetic or electrical stimulation to regulate or normalize brain activity. Our new clinic focuses on treating depression with an innovative and advanced form of brain stimulation, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). 

What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Treatment-resistant depression is depression that is hard to treat. You likely have treatment-resistant depression if your medications are well managed but you have not responded sufficiently to at least two different antidepressants. TMS is currently only offered to patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Expert Mental Health Care

Our clinic is led by Zafiris "Jeff" Daskalakis, MD, PhD, an international expert in brain stimulation who oversees patient treatment protocols. Under his guidance, you receive the most effective and advanced TMS approaches for your depression.  You won't find a higher level of expertise in brain stimulation therapies anywhere in the United States.

Make an appointment with one of our specialty psychiatrists to see if TMS is a good choice for your hard-to-treat depression:

Video: Novel Treatment for Severe Depression

Individualized TMS Treatment Plans

Your TMS treatment plan is crafted and modified using the best available medical science and an understanding of how the brain works. This allows your TMS treatment plan to be both targeted and personalized to your particular response. 

Advanced TMS Systems

Our clinic offers many advanced TMS treatment options to help you feel better.  This means your care team can develop a treatment protocol to target the area of your brain that needs to be stimulated to provide relief and break the cycle of depression.

Other Treatments for Severe Depression 

Treatment for depression is highly individual. A treatment that works for one person may not be effective for another individual. If TMS is not recommended or effective for you, your mental health professional will work with you to find an approach that improves your symptoms.  

There is always a way forward with your care and never a reason to give up hope. We are here for you.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe, effective and non-invasive procedure that sends brief electrical stimulation through the brain while you are under general anesthesia. ECT provides rapid relief for persistent, severe depression that has failed to respond to other treatments.


Esketamine is a nasal spray used to treat severe depression. The medication is closely related to the anesthetic ketamine, used for more than 30 years to put people to sleep before surgery. At lower doses, esketamine can relieve symptoms of depression within hours in some people.

Research and Clinical Trials 

UC San Diego Health is leading innovations in treatments for psychiatric disorders. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial or research study, talk to your UC San Diego Health provider.